The Pain of Growing

Whenever I ask the Lord how He would like me to develop my talents in His service, He usually responds with an assignment—one that will make me grow.

This time it is five short videos within two weeks. Three of them will be within a larger piece that is to be broadcast into several countries.

Guate_26Oc13_1625bI know how to use a camera, though I am strictly an amateur at video, and I have written scripts. But the parts about finding actors, finding a place to shoot, and setting a scene are all new to me. I am definitely out of my comfort zone.

The Lord told Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee” (Jeremiah 1:5), and we have to believe that He knew us all, because Paul taught the Hebrews that we are His children (Hebrews 12:9). Therefore I suppose He knew me well enough to know that I need to be stretched. Maybe when I ask what I can do to improve my talents in His service, I’m secretly hoping that He will say, “Just keep on doing what you’re doing.” But growth never works that way, and He wants us to grow. The great Christian writer C.S. Lewis warned that if we truly want to be His disciples and serve Him, He will stretch us, and the process may seem painful at the time. But in the end we will be more than we could ever have expected of ourselves.

Gaut Dc1212_01b

These photos are results of a self-assignent in trying to show the majesty of His creations. The intricate, living geometry of plants is at once the handiwork of the Supreme Scientist and Consummate Artist.

This current assignment intimidates me. People I respect are depending on me to produce, and I have never done this before. I want it to be perfect. Chances are it won’t be, because I am not perfect, and I am not experienced at this, and so much of what must happen is out of my control.

But it is not out of His control. Today I determined to go to work on the assignment instead of spending any time lamenting my lack of experience, my lack of resources (nearly nothing), and my lack of preparation. There is no time to be spent lamenting. And today He helped me. He helped me find things I had not expected to be able to find. He helped me perform better than I am ordinarily capable of in a language that is not my native tongue. It would be presumptuous to call these “small miracles.” (I have always wondered how people reconcile that term in their own minds. Are there any small miracles?) But I ended the day farther ahead than I had hoped at the beginning.

The Savior taught that “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48). He told us through another prophet that every one of us is to “improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church” (Doctrine and Covenants 82:18).

So here is the really scary part: I have been given much. The Lord has a great deal invested in me.  How can I possibly return anything worthy of His investment?

The answer is that I can’t—except with His help. And so tomorrow morning I will get up and go to work again and pray that He will help me produce works worthy of His kingdom.

3 thoughts on “The Pain of Growing

  1. Bill Bush

    Don, thank you for putting into words thoughts that we all have. I know this will be useful in my own life. Best wishes to you in your new initiative–it will be wonderful.

  2. Adrian

    Elder Searle,

    Thank you for ALL you and your dear Sister are doing here in Central America. We all feel not qualified for those hard assignments. They seldom go as we expect them to go, but we are always instructed and permitted to grow. We need to remember, these wise words fem President Monson: “To whom the Lord calls, He qualifies”.
    I believe this to be true – He knows the intentions of our harts and always blesses us because of them.


    Elder Adrian Ochoa
    Central America Area Presidency

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